Detroit's Miguel Cabrera won the AL's first Triple Crown since 1967, but Hamilton was on an early pace for that. He led the majors with a .406 average, 14 homers and 36 homers through 27 games, but couldn't keep pace after hitting .202 with eight homers over 47 games in a miserable June and July.
This will be the longest offseason in three years for the Rangers. No other team has ever led a division so long in a season without winning it.
Texas Rangers made its first World Series in 2010, in the franchise's 50th season, and lost in five games against San Francisco.
The Rangers made it back last season and twice were within one strike of their first title in Game 6 at St. Louis. They lost in 11 innings and were beaten in Game 7 after blowing a quick 2-0 lead.
Dismissing any notion of any hangover from that devastating finish, the Rangers started 12-2 this year. They led the AL West only four games into the season, and stayed alone in first place until Oakland caught them in the 161st game and took over the next day.
"I don't know the right way to describe it. I don't know," outfielder David Murphy said. "At some point we just ran out of gas. We stopped playing like the Rangers. I don't know why that is. ... We definitely didn't play up to our capabilities."
Two offseasons ago, the Rangers added third baseman Adrian Beltre, an AL MVP candidate with his stellar play in the field (career-low eight errors) and at the plate (.321, 36 homers, 102 RBIs). The big offseason addition a year ago was Darvish, Japan's top pitcher; the Rangers committed more than $107 million to acquire him.
Darvish was 16-9 in 29 regular-season starts, when he struck out 221 batters in 191 1-3 innings and established himself as the Rangers' ace. Against the O's, the only AL team he didn't face in the regular season, the 26-year-old right-hander struck out seven and allowed five singles in 6 2-3 innings.
"My mind is more of a blank now. I really can't tell you what kind of season it was," Darvish said. "But the way I feel, it's almost like they tell you to run like a 30-mile marathon. At the last stretch, second wind, third wind and you're about to finish, they tell you to stop. Like I had to stop, and it was just a little bit more to go, and I could have finished it."
Now, Darvish and the Rangers have to wait until next spring for a fresh start.